So They’re Gonna Raise Some Taxes

They said people would take to the streets because parliamentary elections would be cancelled. “We are a democracy,” they said, “people won’t let that happen.” But people did let elections be cancelled, twice.

They said people would not let the garbage crisis go without a fight. “People may not care about democracy and holding politicians accountable,” they said, “but this is about garbage and their health.” But people also gave up, protesters couldn’t keep the demonstrations together, and the garbage crisis continued and a sustainable solution has yet to be found. Continue reading “So They’re Gonna Raise Some Taxes”

From Beirut to Santiago: memories, democracy and about never going back

Note: This is a translated and abridged version of Eye on the East’s post about Chile in Spanish. The original version can be found here.

21 years have passed since I left Chile, but the wave of memories that hits me at the sight or sound of anything that relates to it is still hard to resist. Maybe it’s the nostalgia of simpler days or the longing for a mischievous adolescence. The fact of the matter is that my appreciation for a land often described as being ‘at the end of the world’ has only grown with time. Continue reading “From Beirut to Santiago: memories, democracy and about never going back”

Desde Beirut a Santiago: recuerdos, democracia y de no volver hacia atrás…

Note: The following is a post about Chile, written by Eye on the East in Spanish, which happens to coincide with Chile’s Independence Day. It deals with the country’s exceptional political history, as reflected through the author’s personal experience in the country, as well as the futility of comparing how far Chile has come in its democratic transition and how much is left for Lebanon to even start coming to terms with its past. If there’s enough interest, I may consider translating it into English. Stay tuned.

Nota: Para todos aquellos de habla hispana, espero que disfruten my primer post en Español. Aunque coincide con las Fiestas Patrias Chilenas del 18 de Septiembre, mis reflecciones, memorias y admiración del ‘success story Chileno’ no tiene fecha. Y aunque esto también coincide con la triste noticia del terremoto, se que Chile seguirá para adelante como siempre lo ha hecho.  Continue reading “Desde Beirut a Santiago: recuerdos, democracia y de no volver hacia atrás…”

With the Stench of Garbage comes a Breeze of Hope

“We have been sleepless for years,

We decided to wake up today,

Oh homeland, do not blame us,

We are now beyond the realm of blame.”

                                                      – Anthem of the Revolution,’  (Arabic), Ziad Al Rahbani

You may call the life that has suddenly exploded on the streets of Beirut whatever you like. You may call the energy spreading throughout the veins of its youth – which had started to believe in the sense of defeat inherited from their forefathers as a fact of life – whatever you like too. But we cannot deny that during the past two weeks, as popular protests triggered by a shameful garbage crisis have gained momentum in and around Beirut – from the August 22-23 protests (see Eye on the East’s post “Live from Beirut…“) to the biggest demonstration in Lebanon’s history organized independently of sectarian parties on August 29 – something has broken and something has been revived. Continue reading “With the Stench of Garbage comes a Breeze of Hope”

Remember Greece?

Note: This is the second of two posts recounting Eye on the East’s recent visit to Athens. Part one can be found here.

It’s hard to believe that less than two months ago, Greece was on the verge of exiting the eurozone and forcing the European Union to ask serious questions about its own viability. Today, Athens’ social, political and economic battles – under the vigilant eyes of its creditors – no longer make the international headlines, but they are only just starting to be fought. Continue reading “Remember Greece?”

Tahrir: Rebelling with a Cause

If this doesn’t exemplify people power, then I’m not quite sure what does.

Some have called it a second revolution, yet the over 22 million Egyptians who attached their name to the Tamarod (Arabic for rebel) movement by signing their petition for Mohammad Mursi to step down and the overwhelming crowds that keep filling the squares of Egypt, starting from Tahrir Square, are only carrying on with the revolution of January 25, 2011. Revolution doesn’t come easy and on June 30, 2013 it is only its second chapter that has started to be written. Continue reading “Tahrir: Rebelling with a Cause”

حان وقت التغيير – The Time has Come for Change

ملاحظة: هذه المقالة قد نشرت لأول مرة في جريدة النهار في 28-03-2013

Note: this piece was first published in Lebanese daily An Nahar on March 28, 2013. You will find an English translation below.

ان ثمة شعارات ومواصفات لتحديد لبنان و ميزاته وفرادته. نتباهى, على سبيل المثال, بأن في البلد حركة دائمة و متجددة لا يشعر أناسه بالضجر. هذه الظاهرة تعني ان المشاكل فيه تتراكم و المشكلة الجديدة هي لتنسينا القديمة و تحل محلها, و يصير حلّ المشكلة في تأجيلها. Continue reading “حان وقت التغيير – The Time has Come for Change”